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Different styles of programming


sjmiller
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I'm a newbie here, I started programming music sequences in December in anticipation of buying an 8 channel LOR controller for my 2009 Christmas display.

I bought the starter package in Jan, then 48 channels of LOR controllers during the Feb. Super Secret sale:D (original plan was 8 channels, then to 16, then I needed 32 - jeez I have to buy 48! - wife was mad, I spent more then I had permission....)

I have programmed 4 music sequences using the fixed timing feature of .05 seconds with the waveform display. I (really) like my play backs - I'm sure I have listened to each song at least 1,000 times while building the sequences.

I'm ready to start on song number 5 and I want to use it as an opportunity to explore some of the different sequencing capabilities the LOR software offers.

I'm looking for tips on where to find some "How to" instructions on tracks, and the other capabilities of S2.

I have registered for the California Christmas Lights Workshop to be held in Sacramento in May.

To be honest - I am so looking forward to Christmas 2009.

Steve

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I have picked up alot of tips simply by reading the fourms in depth. The vast amount of knowledge here is unbelieveable. I would say just searching the older posts would be a good starting point.

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Steve,

One source of S2 how-to's is Lorsequences.com. There is a general S2 overview, with some of the wizards, and Tracks as well.

I don't know if we ever thought of cataloging the different programming styles that are discussed here. I think that would be a great subcategory for this forum.

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Ok - I did a two+ hour view of the tutorials on Lorsequences.com, from what I learned there (this is not a flame to anyone) I did not learn how to use tracks or why I should, and I don't even want to try to use the beat wizard - was that the goal?

Steve

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Steve,

Looking forward to lights up, too, but knowing that these 244 days will fly by.

Amen to Greg's advice, the tracks topics under the S2 forum are a great source of info on the ways folks use them. Have you come across any shared S2 sequences using tracks that might show some ways to use them? Last year I used tracks for alternate timings. This year, not decided yet, with 128 channels I might put certain elements in their own tracks.

Of course you know S2 has lots of tools in it's bag of tricks. Tracks is just one of them. If you don't have/see the need for tracks, it's all good. Maybe in the future you'll be sequencing and wonder if there's a tool that can make it easier to get an idea in your head onto the screen, and then explore tracks. Maybe not. Your own style of sequencing may not benefit from tracks.

We've got many ways to get to the end result. Same with the beat wizard. I use and like it. I'll also hand place extra timings when needed, and manually move some events created by the beat wizard to change emphasis. Many use .1 or .05 fixed timings and love it. It all gets the job done.

Have fun and good luck with your show!

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DanCampbell wrote:

Steve,

Looking forward to lights up, too, but knowing that these 244 days will fly by.

Amen to Greg's advice, the tracks topics under the S2 forum are a great source of info on the ways folks use them. Have you come across any shared S2 sequences using tracks that might show some ways to use them? Last year I used tracks for alternate timings. This year, not decided yet, with 128 channels I might put certain elements in their own tracks.

Of course you know S2 has lots of tools in it's bag of tricks. Tracks is just one of them. If you don't have/see the need for tracks, it's all good. Maybe in the future you'll be sequencing and wonder if there's a tool that can make it easier to get an idea in your head onto the screen, and then explore tracks. Maybe not. Your own style of sequencing may not benefit from tracks.

We've got many ways to get to the end result. Same with the beat wizard. I use and like it. I'll also hand place extra timings when needed, and manually move some events created by the beat wizard to change emphasis. Many use .1 or .05 fixed timings and love it. It all gets the job done.

Have fun and good luck with your show!

Yes! I put one with tracks on the LORsequence website.

It is the "Little Drummer Boy" sequence.

http://lightoramasequences.com/component/option,com_remository/Itemid,42/func,select/id,27/orderby,2/page,3/

You can look at the actual video on the vimeo.com site below
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Steve, I had a similar experience when I went through some of the tutorials. Others find them very useful (what works for one person doesn’t always work for another).

For me, the best way to understand the features was to spend an occasional evening trying different things. Make a copy of a sequence to play and throw it away when you’re done.

It also helps to keep reading posts on the subjects. Eventually, you find one that really helps bring things to light.

Personally I’m a one track, 0.05 second grid kind of guy. I may add tracks in the future for organizational purposes. But, I think I’d be happier with a simple freeze pain option on the grid (like Excel).

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Steve, sorry to send you off on a non fruitful adventure. As stated, some gain useful nuggets other do not. Everyone is different.

There is no other video or how to besides that site that I am aware of. Otherwise you are sifting through a lot of threads. I too pour over all the threads as much as possible to gain some insight.

I too am a fixed grid guy, with inserted timings as needed, but I am attempting to understand leveraging the Beat Wizard more myself. Dan any insight you can add would be appreciated, possibly in another thread. I have not been able to fully comprehend it's use model and advantages yet. It seems that the Tapper Wizard gives a bit more flexibility, again, my experience, but, I have not adopted any of the wizards fully in my programming.

My take on tracks is that they are an organization and test tool. How you use them is up to you. Dennis's example is really good (Dennis great job BTW on that song). You can organize display features by time, color or location in your yard. I have started to use them, mainly for my chase elements, LLA's, Light Fan and Mini's.

For testing purposes, if you want to try to leverage the tap/beat wizard, you can use a track to play with timings without affecting your original work. If you mess up or do not like what you created, you delete the track and start over or just move on.

You can take advantage of tracks with any number of channels that you have. When you start to get into the hundreds of channels, this is where I think they really help. I have the luxury of 2 - 24" monitors side by in portrait mode at home. Not everyone has that. When I program while traveling for work on my laptop and a 15" screen, I really appreciate the Tracks there. I had 312 channels last year. Scrolling up and down that many channels on my laptop in Track 1 was painful.

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Steve,

You sound a lot like me. I started sequencing in Dec 2007 and was thinking of 16 or 32 channels. Then it went to 48 or 64, then 64 or 96. As I got sucked in deeper and deeper, the numbers kept on climbing. We wound up with 144 last year and are up to 256 (so far) for 2009.

Unlike some, I'm not into fixed timings very much. Nor am I someone who does well with the Tapper - something about my eyes, ears, brain and fingers not working together in a timely manner... I tend to favor songs that have a quick, strong tempo so maybe that's why I do well with the beat wizard. Granted, its not perfect, especially in the beginnings of songs, but it's close enough that my eyes can't very often tell the difference. And when I can tell the difference, it's a pretty simple matter to move a timing mark so it matches up.

I have the utmost respect for those who take the time to put together tutorials, and I've definitely learned from them. But for me there's nothing like just jumping in and learning as I go. And that's my advice to you - just do it. As you progress you'll naturally find yourself favoring what works best for you. If it looks good from the street, then you did it well, regardless of how you got there. Sometimes I wonder if anyone ever really finishes a sequence. We're all our own worst critics and almost every time I watch something I've done, there's things I want to change.

Tracks are really nothing more than a way to organize your channels. Think of it along the lines of a file manager of sorts. For me, sequencing would be a scrolling nightmare if not for tracks. I have lots of devices: arches, poles, spinners, boxes, etc. I frequently subdivide timings into twos, threes, fours, sixes, sevens, or nines to accomodate those various devices. I put my arches, which are 7-segments into their own track, and my 9-segment poles into their own track, and my 4-segment beat trees into their own track, etc. That way I can subdivide timings according to how many segments of an arch I want to light during each beat, or how fast I want mini trees to chase, or how fast I want spinners to spin, etc. I also use tracks to group colors. I have a seperate track just for the face on the house, and a seperate track for strobes, etc. There's really no right or wrong - tracks are a tool that allows you to separate or group things in whatever way makes most sense to your brain.

I'm certainly no expert, but if you'd like to see a sequence of mine and how I personally use tracks, just PM me and I'll send you one.

George

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Steve, welcome to the club. So far the best that I have learned is through trial an error and find what works well for you. I always start with a .05 grid. I then use tracks to experiment around with beat and tapper. I also use tracks for chase sequencing when I want to break an element down into specific timings without adding all the timing extra timing marks to the original track.

What is really fun is when your sequencing style evolves and you get to go back and change/tweak your first sequences! Adding new channels is always a challenge as well.

There is definitely some learning curve but it does get easier. The workshop should help.

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Tracks really helped me understand how to sequence and find my way to sequence. It took a lot of confusion out of the programming so many different elements of my display.

What really helped me was having a class on just using the software. It was instructed by a experienced LOR user. We learned many tricks of the software and did extensive examples of using tracks and timing.

After 4 hours of class works we all went away with a better understanding of LOR.

Try getting some local class together just for programming and swap your ideas. Bring your laptops or if you can. like we did, had a classroom with computers for everyone (First come First serve) and the instructor having a projector to illustrate.

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zman wrote:

I too am a fixed grid guy, with inserted timings as needed, but I am attempting to understand leveraging the Beat Wizard more myself. Dan any insight you can add would be appreciated, possibly in another thread.
Some Beat Wizard tips that worked for me...
  • If the song has a different tempo in the intro or changes tempo elsewhere, change the time range from/to to operate over just part of the song. Be sure to hit the update button.
  • I usually started with 2x tempo it found. I'd double and quadruple those timings in additional tracks. (or manually add timings in small quantities.)
  • I found it very helpful having the first and third beats highlighted, so in track 1 had it insert events every 4 beats, and changed the offset if the accent wasn't where I wanted it. I'd go back and turn a cell on in the next channel on every downbeat.
  • If the BW settings don't give you quite the results you want, undo and try it again.

Oh, and I started late, so having the timings calculated for me was a great timesaver. For me it was worth the effort to play a little to get the result I wanted.

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Hey all,

I took another spin on lorsequences.com tonight - and the track & beat videos made more sense, it just needed to sink in a bit before I could put it into context.

I decided to use the Beat Wizard for my next song sequence (which I started tonight). I picked Jingle Bell Rock by Bobby Helms, it has a strong constant beat to it once past the first 8.6 seconds.

I started out with a new music sequence, created it with the .05 sec timing grid, added the waveform display, then used the Tools pull down to start the Beat Wzard. I had to delete the Beat timing marks about 8 or so times, once in the Wizard I couldn't play sequences and watch the waveform display or get timing info by placing the cursor on the programming grid:X

I also ended up selecting 2X tempo and turn on channel 1 every other beat.

Once I sort of figured it out - I can see that it will definately save time as I get better using it.

I will use both the beat and track tools for my next music sequence, and then there is the VU tool...

Steve

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sjmiller wrote:

... and then there is the VU tool...

Another under-utilized tool that very few people talk about. Personally, I've enjoyed playing around with it and have achieved reasonably good success using it to create VU meters with my 9-segment poles. I especially like the effect when I've used it for instrumental solos such as saxaphone ot trumpet. Ah, so many programming toys and so little time from one November to the next...
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Steve, I maybe weighing in to late for you, but one nice thing that I have learned about using Tracks is that you can incorporate shared sequences that use different timing very easily.

Let say you’re working on song “X”, and you have an element that you want singing the lyrics. You spend some quality time sequencing it out using .10 timing. You then find two shared sequences for song “X”. You open one and it is a 16 channel sequence at .25 timing that follows the melody of the song but does not really focus on individual instruments like the drums, a guitar or a horn.

You think to yourself, well I can use this for the lights on the house and on some of the bushes out front. If you have a Track that covered just those areas, you can keep the .10 timing you started with for the lyrics and use the .25 timing in the Track that covered the house and bushes.

You then open the second sequence for song “X” that has .05 timings and has the same number of leaping arches with the same number of channels as you. You just scored big because you can quickly put that into you Leaping Arch Track leaving the timing alone on your other two Tracks.

A little long winded but I hope this helps.

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Brad,

There are a lot of tools and ways of using them - I do want to give them all a try to find the set I'm comfortable with - and wich to use when. It took me the last two nights to figure out the Beat Wizard (novice user) - I would say it saved me two nights of setting up the song timing sequence using my prevous technique, for my current song sequence project.

I started sequencing Jingle Bell Rock last night, and I have the first 45 seconds "finished" - when is a sequence ever finished?

Seriously - It would have taken me two to three nights to get the timing track layed down so I could start programming the lights.

My Christmas lights for 2009 will be my first real all out lighting display - I will not copy, download, or buy a song/sequence - I will do it all from start to finish!

Yes a bit anal.... I have to own this from start to finish,,

Steve

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